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The High Line as Symbol of 'Severe Economic Inequality'

A recent article in Salon cites the High Line as perhaps the most conspicuous example of how municipal governments are subsidizing wealthy corporate or private interests while many citizens continue to suffer low wages and benefits.
April 14, 2014, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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David Berkowitz

In explaining some of the unacknowledged costs and causes of gentrification, Sally Kohn cites the example of a new residential building near the High Line in New York City: “In a glittering new building at 540 West 28th Street, a 700-square-foot one-bedroom apartment just sold for $1.3 million. Manuel Matos, a concierge in the building, makes just $12 an hour and has no health insurance. Matos also lives in a one-bedroom apartment — one he shares with his parents almost an hour’s commute away from work.”

Kohn’s larger point is that cities are subsidizing the wealthy while leaving low income residents in the lurch. “Cities that didn’t have enough money to spend on parks in poor neighborhoods or pensions for public employees suddenly have enough money to subsidize corporate office parks and stadiums,” writes Kohn, who also cites a New York Times article that such deals often do not produce the benefits they optimistically hoped for.

A final, provocative point by Kohn: “The not-so-hidden message of gentrification is that there is always plenty of money to go around, even public money, for the whims of the rich.”

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Published on Friday, April 11, 2014 in Salon
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